Posts By Ramon Kuhn

The Pros and Cons of Text Messaging

Text Messaging

The unobtrusive nature of text messaging seems to trump all of its downfalls in today’s technologically savvy society. We can sneak little messages to the ones we love, send notes and reminders without disrupting someone’s day, and hold conversations when you’ve lost your voice and don’t feel like pouring your heart into an e-mail. On the whole, text messaging is a great tool in communication – but it still holds its own faults.
Instead of calling a friend to see if they’re still awake and willing to hit up that late night party with you, you can just send them a text message and if they’re awake, you’ll get a response. If not, you can go on the chance that they’re probably asleep, and feel safe knowing they won’t kill you the next time they see you for waking them up the night before a big meeting.

If you’re in a movie theater and just endured the pre-show ad banning the use of cell phones, but thought of a brilliant idea for your dad’s birthday party, you can slyly sneak out your phone (attempting to cover the light from the screen, of course) and text your sister to share your great idea. Or maybe even text yourself so you don’t forget!

There are many advantages to text message technology, but it can be brought off of its pedestal when it comes to real life conversation. You lose that true life interaction you get with a face-to-face conversation, or even a chat on the phone. The expressions and verbal articulation are gone – “LOL”s and emoticons can only do so much. A sad face on a tiny cell phone screen is a poor substitute for a hug when someone just found out their dog died. The same goes for work etiquette – you wouldn’t send your boss a text message letting them know you’re sick and won’t make the big meeting. It’s all a matter of tact.

In addition to avoiding inappropriate texting situations, you want to stear clear of saying anything you might regret someone reading later – be it the person you sent, or everyone else in that person’s phone book. Aside from those paranoid enough to record all their phone calls, it’s much safer to have a vicious argument with your cross-country significant other during a phone call than to send a threatening text that can easily be traced back to you. It’s not only embarrassing; it could have much more dire consequences. In a world that is rapidly grasping at technology to help solve crimes and track down perpetrators, it can mean bad news when something you sent out of anger is shown to an officer of the law who didn’t know you weren’t really going to take his cat and shove it down the garbage chute.

Some things need to be left to personal interaction, while others can alternatively be left to the ways of texting. Text messaging has given us a quick and easy way to interact with family and friends on the fly, but left us with more responsibility. Common sense and good judgment are essential when dealing with text messaging – the phone and the screen may be small, but the consequences might not.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time

Top Technophobe Films

Before The Matrix Trilogy and before The Terminator there were other cinematic explorations of technology wreaking havoc on poor, unsuspecting humans.
Technological innovations make life better and easier, right? Not for the characters in these films. Technology has run amok, and human kind needs to be saved.

If you haven’t seen any of these examples of technology run amok on celluloid, then you are truly missing out.

Next time you’re in the mood to rent a flick, find one or a couple of these films, turn off your computer and enjoy!

Warning: this article does contain some spoilers, if you have never seen the movies.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1960s

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) directed by Stanley Kubrick.

When your life is in the hands of a computer, and that computer screws up, what do you do then? Chances are you’ve already seen this classic.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1970s

Logan’s Run (1976) directed by Michael Anderson.

Logan’s Run is more than just a pretty face. Young, fit attractive people seem to be living a hedonistic lifestyle in one big enclosed mall.

Farrah Fawcett does have a bit role in this sci-fi film in which anyone beyond the age of 30 is killed off in order to control the population. Everyone has a crystal embedded in their hand that changes color as they age. When the crystal turns black your life is over. Technophobes will appreciate this movie because what started out as a technological innovation to control the population became unnecessary, yet the majority of the population simply accepted their fate without question. (A precursor to The Matrix?)

Michael Anderson also directed Millennium (1989), a time travel movie with Cheryl Ladd and Kris Kristsofferson.

Westworld (1973) directed by Micheal Chrichton.

Visiting Westworld for vacation sounds like such a good idea. Guests get to visit an Old Western town, complete with robots programmed to entertain. Yul Brenner is a robot cowboy, how cool is that? Westworld is a nice place to visit….until something of course goes awry.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1980s

Looker (1981)

In Looker, TV models are sent to a plastic surgeon to correct minor imperfections. Even then they aren’t “perfect” enough and are slowly killed off and replaced with digital images.

Anyone considering plastic surgery or is seeking “perfection” through technology would do well to see this film. While it seemed more like a warning when it was made, it appears society took it the other way, seeing it as a blueprint for making the world around them a prettier place. When every image is photoshopped and animated women become the ideal body type, Houston we have a problem.

Looker was written and directed by the king of technophobe and medical advancement movies: Michael Chricton. Michael Chricton is also responsible for The Andromeda Strain, Coma, and the Jurassic Park movies.

BladeRunner (1982) directed by Ridley Scott.

Much has been written about the slow and dark BladeRunner. It was one of the first films to examine genetic engineering, and it does star Harrison Ford, so there are some pluses.

Videodrome (1983) directed by David Cronenberg.

Videodrome is a nightmare which blurs reality and fantasy when a Cable TV operator, played by James Woods, searches for new programming for his station. Videodrome will mess with your mind, and may even have you turning off the TV for a while.

Brainstorm (1983) directed by Douglas Trumbull.

Would you want your memories and experiences “recorded” and shared with others? That is exactly what happens in Brainstorm. As always seems to happen in these cautionary tales about technology, the technology ends up in the wrong hands, or is used for monetary or power gains. Brainstorm is a thinker, and it stars Christopher Walken amp; Natalie Wood.

War Games (1983)

Of all the movies to instill a sense of technophobia among the general population, no movie did it better than War Games. War Games was also fair warning to the dangers of hacking and video game overload.

War Games is also the most technologically dated movie, probably because it is set in a real time and place, not a sic-fi setting like some of the other films.

What is comical about War Games is how much it dates itself. At one point in the movie the character played by Matthew Broderick uses a found soda can tab to make a call on a pay phone. Some people may have no idea what that sentence means. Soda cans used to have a removable tab, with a paisley shape on the end of a ring. A pay phone is what people used before everyone had a cell phone.

War Games was also a cultural predictor of the obsessive qualities of video gaming, and the need to continue to seek harder, faster, better, more challenging games, even if it ultimately means the destruction of the world.

War Games came out at a time when school-aged children actually lived with the fear that “the Russians” would nuke us any. Made-for-TV movies like The Day After (1983) only solidified this fear and deepened nuclear paranoia.

Top Technophobe Films of All Time: 1990s

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) directed by Robert Longo.

Johnny Mnemonic is not the best technophobe film out there. It is worth watching, however, to see Keanu Reeves unknowingly prepare for his greatest role ever: Neo.

Hackers (1995) directed by Iain Softley.

Hackers deserves mention because it is a cool film. It is also a warning about greed, the dangers of hacking and getting caught, and how much of our lives have been digitalized.

The Net (1995) directed by Irwin Winkler.

The Net tells the story of a telecommuter who is also a hermit, gets caught up in plot, and lets her naivete about the real world get her into some seriously dangerously situations. Some people like this movie simply because Dennis Miller dies.

Gattaca (1997) directed by Andrew Niccol.

Gattaca is one of those movies that plays lightly but has a slow and effective mind burn. On first viewing, Gattaca seems to quiet and subtle. Days, weeks, and even months alter, moments from teh film will resonate. Gattaca explores the ethics and consequences of genetic engineering. It also delves into the societal fissures created by genetic engineering, and the perception of which genes are “superior” or inferior.

ScanSnap Brings the Scanner and Printer Together as One Single Device

ScanSnap –  A scanner and Printer combined

There are always times when we get paperwork that we would like to save and that we find important to keep for future use. Most of the time we choose to store it in a filing cabinet and keep it there until we need to drag it out again. I know some of you are saying that you could just use a scanner to scan your files into your computer and get rid of the filing cabinet, but then you still have to shred the paper to make it disappear. In the long run a filing cabinet is cheaper than buying a shredder and a scanner as well. That’s why this new invention could change all that and change how paper storing operates for good, by employing a scanner and a shredder all in one.
So what is this new invention called? Well it’s called the ScanSnap made by Fujitsu company and it works by creating a scanner which will scan the document you wish to shred and then create a PDF image of that same document so that it can then be stored onto your computer. In this way the scanner disappears and you’re left with a shredder that can do both operations. With this type of invention you no longer have to worry about filing cabinets, though I know that this won’t make them obsolete, so don’t worry file cabinet making companies, you’re safe for now. The main drawback to such an invention is that it costs $1,001, which can be quite expensive, but the small size and portability of the unit makes it very cost effective. It doesn’t need any additional power cord like your scanner or shredder used to as the same USB that hooks to your computer also helps to power the unit itself. The other major drawback I found with such a unit is the fact that it is only for MACs at the moment. I’m not docking MACs in any way, but it will probably hurt the sales of a otherwise great product because it’s not employed to all available markets and its price already turns some people away from buying.

While this new invention has major drawbacks due to its price point as well as the fact that it is only available to MACs at the moment, I still think that it will do very well in the market. As long as the invention itself gets converted to also be used on PCs, the amount of success this product could have with consumers is endless. Even with the higher price, people who are looking to save space and time will want to buy one. Though it takes only a little bit of extra time to scan and shred documents, the fact that they can do both at the same time will save them a lot of money in the long run. The fact that someone was this innovate means other companies can now start making their own versions of the product and sell it even cheaper to consumers and make them better with even more capabilities, which means great things for the future and home and office use as we know it.